Mounting - Acrylic Sandwich?

David Somers bio photo By David Somers Comment

Simplification

I have been thinking once more of how to mount my art. Am I making things over complicated. Bespoke 3D printed stuff is cool, but is it really necessary? Perhaps a more minimal approach. Take three sheets and make a sandwich. Behind, birch ply for stability (and easy of gluing fixings to “float” it on the wall). In the middle, a clear sheet with cutouts to hold the “captures”. The front, clear. All held together with clips. The material of choice, for safety reasons, has to be polycarbonate. I am almost tempted to add a small corner radius (because those corners can be acutely sharp), but as I want to mount multiple sets side-by-side such an approach would spoil the aesthetic.

acrylic sandwich
Render for acrylic sandwich
acrylic sandwich
Render for acrylic sandwich
acrylic sandwich
Render for acrylic sandwich

How hard can it be to find a supplier who can supply sheets, suitably laser cut? A tour of many countries. And Friday afternoon is never a good time to try and contact these people.

One company in Belgium may do it — and they are fairly close — but although they are in the French speaking part of Belgium, they are too close to the German-speaking part of Belgium, and so are, in German-like fashion, they are closed Friday afternoon. Side-note, like all good companies in Wallonia, they only speak French; Geen Vlaamse; Kein Deutsch. And their website hasn’t been updated for years, which isn’t a good sign.

One supplier can do what I want. Great. But they are UK based and do not ship outside the UK. A prime example of the UK being “open” for business to Europe. I’ve asked for a quotation anyway, and can do the whole drop-shipping-dance if necessary.

Another supplier. They close early on Friday. Really? Since when did a UK supplier behave like a German one. There was me thinking that only the German’s take Friday afternoon off.

Another supplier, in France. To ask for a quote you must email them. But to obtain their email you must first phone them. C’est comme ├ža avec les fournisseurs en France….

Another supplier, in Germany. Yes, we can supply trimmed sheets. But we do not cut them. For that see our finishers: Click here. Die Seite existiert nicht.

But, the more I think about the approach — the acrylic sandwich — the more I like it. It feels feasible… assuming I can find a supplier who can do things in time (especially as there is usually a 7 day turnaround and I need to order a production proof before I hot the button on an order for multiples).

DFX from OpenSCAD

Another nice thing about modelling with OpenSCAD, it can export DXF ready to go into the cutter. The only restriction being the model has to be two-dimensional. This means I can easily use this to parametrically generate the necessary cutting instructions… no getting lost in Illustrator to DXF hell.

Update

Some more potential suppliers in Germany: in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich or Stuttgart. Something to pursue on Monday when they’re open, but looking at them, some do just cutting (bring your own material), and others do material supply and cutting (but only on small dimensions). As these are German suppliers they are exceedingly German and anal and therefore list their machinery inventory… looks like most people use the same laser cutter, and they all opt for the small bed! I suspect one or two of the UK suppliers may be better as at least they have a large laser bed (3000 mm x 2000mm) which means they can simply take a large sheet, impose up my work, and cut everything on one hit, which should hopefully reduce time, waste, and importantly cost.

Update bis

Lighting. Would it be possible to illuminate the middle layer? This would then really enhance the artworks (or possibly not!). After a bit of research EndLighten is the product I need to use instead of vanilla Acrylic or polycarbonate. A read through the data sheet. It can be done, but it has to be done right. And I suspect the cost would be prohibitive.

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